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Entegris reveals lessons from the semiconductor industry that will shape the future of life sciences manufacturing

October 20, 2021   Maryam Farag

Entegris, Inc. revealed lessons learned from its semiconductor business that have the potential to transform production and storage in the life sciences industry. These cross-industry applications may enable safer, more efficient production of biologics, and cell and gene therapies of the future.

“Manufacturing of emerging new therapies, such as mRNA vaccines and cell and gene therapies are ripe for transformation. There is a strong need for new tools and ways of working to help life sciences companies improve purity and yield while solving critical public health issues. In any industry, sometimes looking outside of your own market for answers is the fastest way to drive innovation,” said John Lynch, Vice-President of Life Sciences, Entegris.

Three of the top lessons from the semiconductor industry currently being implemented into biopharma manufacturing include:

  1. Processes developed by the semiconductor industry that identify and reduce contaminants are being deployed to improve the purity and yield of drug substances. 

In life sciences, particles are increasingly a concern. Unidentified particles in the final drug product may prevent the full lot from being released, which could lead to wasted resources and significant financial losses. Many cell therapies are unable to use filtration to reduce particle burden, since filtration removes the cells which are the final product. For this reason, other solutions need to be identified. Existing technologies from the semiconductor industry – from monitoring techniques to measurement tools – can be instrumental in identifying and minimizing particle burden in life sciences processes.

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  1. Materials used in semiconductor manufacturing are supporting extreme temperature demands required by new drug substances.  

As freeze storage becomes increasingly important in the life sciences industry with more drugs, therapies, and vaccines – including the COVID-19 vaccine – requiring precise cryogenic temperatures, this expertise can be applied to the life sciences industry. High performance polymers not only offer distinctive features for handling frozen bulk drug substances, they are also one of the cleanest and most robust solutions on the market right now. Such high-performance materials are a preferred solution for freezing, transporting, storing, and thawing drug substances, since they result in less contamination and breakage.

  1. Semiconductor supply chain strength and resilience is being leveraged to scale up production of biologic therapies like COVID-19 vaccines.

The real-time data is underpinned by a strong, dynamic network of suppliers, which ensure semiconductor companies – and their partners – are prepared with back-up plans in the event one supplier is unable to meet the current demand.

“The semiconductor industry offers highly controlled processes, advanced specialty materials and leading-edge technology that can deliver valuable benefits for life sciences manufacturing. What’s more, we should also embrace the semiconductor industry’s ‘spirit of collaboration’ in which producers partner with their peers on R&D initiatives to lift the industry as a whole. These lessons from our vast experience serving the semiconductor industry can be leveraged by life sciences companies to pave the way to better support novel biologic therapies of the future, including the successful delivery of COVID-19 vaccines worldwide.” said Lynch.